Over the August Bank Holiday weekend Alan and I always attend a Christian Arts and Music Festival called ‘Greenbelt’. The festival attracts people from all over the country to meet in a field in Northamptonshire, I think there were about 18000 of us this year. The festival inspires me and challenges me, it reinvigorates me and is the place where I most experience the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Come with us next year!!
This year I attended a workshop led by St Martin-in-the-fields which was all about reflecting on art. The piece that we looked at was ‘Christ before the High Priest’ by Gerrit van Honthorst. In the centre is a lighted candle and to the left is a seated Caiaphas pointing his finger accusingly at Jesus, who is standing to the right of the picture, calm and composed. The text that the painting is based upon is found in Matthew 26:57-75.
As we reflected on the painting we were asked a series of questions and I found myself drawn to the image of Jesus, who was bearing so many false accusations and also bearing the anger of the people in the room. I know that I expect God to be able to bear my anger and put up with my false accusations. Particularly when I am tired and hurt I end up accusing God of not being there for me or not caring enough.
We were asked who we identify with in the picture and I found myself identifying with Jesus, as my experience is that people are often angry with me and I too have to bear false accusations. Is I looked at the calmness of Jesus in this situation I wondered whether this is a ministry that we sometimes have to offer to others…. The ability to bear the anger and false accusations of others whilst remaining calm and caring.
I found the experience profound and thought this workshop might be something that we can do in the parish. We might be able to reflect together on art and find that it moves us forward in our spiritual journeys. So I am hoping that I will be able to get a group together to do this in Advent. Perhaps it is something you are interested in? If so contact me – firstname.lastname@example.org or 01252 820537.